daisy flowers against top of open book

The ecology sector includes biodiversity, mitigation and consultancy roles e.g. Ecological Clerk of Works and advice provision also fieldwork such as bat surveys and EIA.  

Ecological roles can be found in all habitat types, from open moorland or ancient woodland to coastal and marine settings looking at everything from natterjack toads to lichens to the impact of a potential windfarm development.

Provision of ecological consultancy is a growing area and one in which you can be a generalist covering whole ecosystems to specialists looking specifically at one, usually protected, species e.g. Great Crested Newts or bats. Developments, both large e.g. HS2 and the York Potash Woodsmith mine, and small e.g. house extensions / barn conversions, are being created every day many of which require site surveys for planning applications meaning this is a field with plenty of opportunities.  

Occasionally there are also pure research opportunities which sometimes can be combined with further study such as gaining your PhD.

Jobs and employment

Typical jobs include Ecologist and Ecological Clerk of Works, Field Worker, Researcher, Environmental Management Consultant,  the National Careers Service has role profiles of these and many more.

See current vacancies advertised with CJS here.

To gain the experience required volunteering is frequently a good start.

See current volunteering opportunities advertised with CJS here.


Skills, training and CPD.

There are many different skills and qualifications required to work in the ecology field however a degree in ecology or closely related subject is usually required.

If you're thinking of a career in ecology there are details of longer courses, from foundation certifications to more specialised Masters Degrees on the Training Directory here.

There is a range of Distance Learning courses in a range of subjects such as statistics for ecologists, field techniques for surveying and habitat restoration see these here.

Information and in depth articles

Many of the below articles appeared in CJS Focus on Careers in Ecology & Biodiversity in association with the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM). Published 20 September 2021

Kickstart your career in ecology, Peak Ecology

Win-win for people and nature, Ecosystems Knowledge Network

Arbtech MD Robert Oates highlights how ecologists can boost their employability

Early Career Ecologists and Exploitation, The Ecology Co-op

So you want to become an ecologist?, Ecology Academy

Day in the Life of an Ecologist, Total Ecology

Flying Solo – A Year in the Making, Eco-Habitat

A closer look at the life of an early career ecologist, Julia Kozlowska

Life on the Edge - Working for Nature and Well-being in Outer London, Harrow Council

Careers in the Ecology and Environmental Sector, CIEEM  

Careers in Ecology & Biodiversity: What can you do to progress your career?, British Ecological Society

Born to be Wild – The skills you need to work in conservation and biodiversity, Ecology Training UK

A Day in the Life of an Ecologist, Arbtech

Getting ahead in ecology: what many ecologists don’t know they don’t know…, Career Ecologists 

The Increase in Road Verge Wilding and the Role of Native Flora, Joshua Styles

Fourth article: The inside view on our environment team, Canal & River Trust

Making the leap into self-employment, Ecology on Demand

Interview Skills, Contract Ecology Ltd

Bat's are hibernating - we are not, Bat Conservation Trust

Why Bats Matter, published Bat Conservation Trust

The Bass Rock, Scottish Seabird Centre

Getting into Ecological Consultancy, Direct Ecology


Useful organisations

British Ecological Society

Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Managers 

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